Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Good News For Rich Guys

A new report states that CEOs at America's top firms earn as much per day as the average worker does in a year.

Also, the new minimum wage of $5.85/hr is 7% below what it was ten years ago after adjusting for inflation.

How does golfing, flying first class, eating at posh restaurants, and having meetings with lots of lawyers and finance people warrant that kind of compensation? From the article:
Top executives at major U.S. businesses last year made as much money in one day of work on the job as the average worker made over the entire year, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Chief executive officers from the nation's biggest businesses averaged nearly $11 million in total compensation, according to the 14th annual CEO compensation survey released jointly by the Institute for Policy Studies based in Washington and United for a Fair Economy, a national organization based in Boston.

At the same time, workers at the bottom rung of the U.S. economy received the first federal minimum wage increase in a decade. But the new wage of $5.85 an hour, after being adjusted for inflation, stands 7 percent below where the minimum wage stood a decade ago.

"CEO pay, over that same decade, has increased by roughly 45 percent," the study found.

On average, CEOs at major American corporations saw $1.3 million in pension gains last year. By contrast, 58.5 percent of American households led by a 45- to 54-year old even had a retirement account in 2004, the most recent year these figures were available.

According to the report, between 2001 and 2004, retirement accounts of these average households gained only $3,775 in value a year.

The top 386 CEOs in the study took in perks, such as housing allowances and travel benefits, worth on average $438,342 in 2006. It would take a minimum wage worker 36 years to earn the equivalent of what CEOs averaged in just perks alone.

The 20 highest-paid individuals at publicly traded corporations last year took home, on average, $36.4 million. That's 38 times more than the 20 highest-paid leaders in the non-profit sector and 204 times more than the 20 highest-paid generals in the U.S. military.

American executives significantly out-earn their European counterparts, the study found. In 2006, the 20 highest-paid European managers made an average of $12.5 million, a third as much as the 20 highest-paid U.S. executives took home last year.